Evidence of Aluminum Loading in Infants Receiving Intravenous Therapy

Aileen B. Sedman*, Gordon L. Klein, Russell J. Merritt, Nancy L. Miller, Kim O. Weber, William L. Gill, Harish Anand, Allen C. Alfrey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

232 Scopus citations


To investigate the possibility that premature infants may be vulnerable to aluminum toxicity acquired through intravenous feeding, we prospectively studied plasma and urinary aluminum concentrations in 18 premature infants receiving intravenous therapy and in 8 term infants receiving no intravenous therapy. We also measured bone aluminum concentrations in autopsy specimens from 23 infants, including 6 who had received at least three weeks of intravenous therapy. Premature infants who received intravenous therapy had high plasma and urinary aluminum concentrations, as compared with normal controls: plasma aluminum, 36.78±45.30 vs. 5.17±3.1 μg per liter (mean ±S.D., P<0.0001); urinary aluminum:creatinine ratio, 5.4±4.6 vs. 0.64±0.75 (P<0.01). The bone aluminum concentration was 10 times higher in infants who had received at least three weeks of intravenous therapy than in those who had received limited intravenous therapy: 20.16±13.4 vs. 1.98±1.44 mg per kilogram of dry weight (P<0.0001). Creatinine clearances corrected for weight did not reach expected adult values until 34 weeks of gestation. Many commonly used intravenous solutions are found to be highly contaminated with aluminum. We conclude that infants receiving intravenous therapy have aluminum loading, which is reflected in increased urinary excretion and elevated concentrations in plasma and bone. Such infants may be at high risk for aluminum intoxication secondary to increased parenteral exposure and poor renal clearance. (N Engl J Med 1985; 312: 1337–43.).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1337-1343
Number of pages7
JournalNew England Journal of Medicine
Issue number21
StatePublished - 23 May 1985
Externally publishedYes


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